Unicorns Hurtling Helter-skelter
This refers to your cover story on start-ups (The Fall of the Unicorns, March 26). It was a unique study of Indian unicorns explaining in detail what failed them, what turned them frail, and what should be done on priority to resuscitate them and revitalise their operations. The unicorns have largely failed to read the writing on the wall regarding revenue realisation, increasing operational costs, meagre cash flows and profit impact. In fact, it is a case of chasing the mirage of progress, with unicorns hurtling helter-skelter and caught in the trap of growth tantrums. Instead of growing profitably on the back of high demand by customers, the unicorns dictated their own terms in the deals, and have hit mounds of business difficulties. Their puerile belief that venture capital will look at only gross merchandise value has unfortunately made them enlarge their business volume ignoring the return on investment proposition. Their business play is not worth the candle. Also, the Centre's indifference to shore them up economically has affected them seriously and this will definitely dampen the spirit of entrepreneurs. The arena of start-ups is already having few takers and operatives and this policy vacuum will hardly entice "green horns". The unicorns should refresh their business models, develop customer-centric applications, enrich revenue paths, broaden profit channels and adopt measures to inspire wide-ranging confidence of stakeholders to qualify for the status of unicorns.
B. Rajasekaran, Bangalore
Need to Boost Rural Banking
This refers to your feature on co-operative banks (Cooperative Dilemma, March 26). The challenge to take digital payment to rural India is huge, especially after the demonetisation of high-value notes by the Centre in November 2016.The rural population must be encouraged to open and run their own bank accounts. They also need to start their small businesses, and for this, the banks must offer them attractive loan schemes. After the demonetisation move, it has been witnessed that banking facilities are inadequate in rural areas. There is a need to open more bank branches in every nook and corner of rural areas. This will facilitate and encourage more banking transactions across the country, boosting online payments as well.
Mahesh Kapasi, New Delhi